The Presence – Session 2
Review chapters 8 and 11 in the book.
My notes from chapter 8
“Since the dawn of Enlightenment, well-meaning believers have insisted that the only reliable way of knowing God, the only way that we encounter God, is through our intellectual apprehension of him in Scripture. We must think or reason our way to God…any experience we may have of God’s presence is automatically suspect.”
But knowledge and zeal must be joined. “The Bible invites Christians to approach God with the mind and the spirit.”
Pharisees knew God intellectually, but Jesus said their hearts, were far from knowing. Jesus was trying to tell us we must come to God with both heart and mind. We cannot fully know God if one of those two parts is missing.
Think about the stories of God appearing to people in the Bible. Did the people involved have an intellectual understanding of what was happening? Saul/Paul was one of the Pharisees that moved from his only having an intellectual understanding of God to having his mind and heart involved. This happened after his encounter with God on the road to Damascus. It is impossible to understand that encounter intellectually, but it could not be denied. Paul was never the same. He stopped forcing people to follow the law and began encouraging people to look to Jesus for conversion.
“Reason and experience are the two seemingly opposing forces that create the tension – and we need both. What we know of God and what we experience of God are both necessary for maintaining and building our faith-based relationship with God.”
My notes from Chapter 11
“Sadly, the Holy Spirit has been marginalized by much of contemporary Christianity, we have well-constructed doctrinal positions that include him on paper, and we give him lip service in the major creeds; but far too often we live as if he’s distant at best, nonexistent at worst.”
Just as Christ was fully on earth walking with the disciples. The third part of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, is fully alive and walking with us. The Holy Spirit give us power to share Christ, to believe in Christ, to be changed. How do we recognize the Holy Spirit? How do we know that something we experience is from the Holy Spirit rather than manufactured to manipulate? The Holy Spirit always points to God. God will be glorified. There will not be a doubt as to God’s presence bringing the responsible.
Study guide notes
“There is an alarming trend today to live the Christian life as if we were members of an audience – sitting back, arms folded, moderately entertained, while watching a dramatic performance up on a stage.”
I believe we even act as critics, giving our opinion to others about the quality of our churches performances. I’m worried that Live worship has added to that judgment style of worship, if we don’t like a service we can just switch the channel and watch another church that morning. We don’t get really excited about being a part of a service because we realize something is not quite what we need. Something is missing – but what is it?
We’ve forgotten worship is about us coming into God’s presence offering ourselves in praise and thanksgiving. We’ve forgotten to participate. Even Live Worship should be a participatory event. We should set up a worship space. We should pray before the service inviting God into our worship space, and then expecting God to open us to ways to participate. We aren’t satisfied because we have left out the most important part, asking God to join us.
How would you respond to this statement?
“Complacent satisfaction with the status quo can be a dangerous hindrance to experiencing God’s presence.”
Think about this statement.
“If our churches are going to survive and be intergenerational, we must consider what John Wesley called ‘heart religion.’ We need a living encounter with God that engages our heads, our hearts, and our hands.”
Before you watch the Video (Right Now Media, Video #2) pray that God will stir your heat to have a holy dissatisfaction with the status quo. Lord, give us a desire for more of Your presence.
As you watch the video make notes of anything that captures your mind and heart.
Are we a prayerless church?
Why are we so eager to get involved with a new program, but we aren’t eager to get involved with a prayer service?
Follow this link to the Alec Rowlands video
My video question/answers
Questions in my video. Share you answers by email or comments in the blog.
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